CHESTER produced a woeful performance as they were thrashed 5-2 at Sutton United.
Paul Doswell's side can hardly have had an easier afternoon all season and led 3-0 at half-time after goals from Adam Coombes, Adam May and Jamie Collins set them on their way, Coombes and Nicky Bailey rubbing salt into the wounds in the second-half.
The only positives for the Blues were James Alabi's two late consolation goals, the first capitalising on a bad error from Will Puddy before he netted a second on 82 minutes, but it was all too little too late for Chester.
This was a ninth defeat in 11 outings for Jon McCarthy's side and they were outplayed in every aspect of this encounter at Gander Green Lane, dreadful at the back and lacking any ideas going forward until the final 10 minutes.
Although they remain highly unlikely to be relegated, Chester are now just three points above the drop zone heading into next weekend's last game of the season against Boreham Wood.
It's a situation McCarthy's side simply should never have allowed to happen and the pressure is now mounting on the under-fire manager.
There were two changes to Chester's line-up, James Akintunde making his first start for six months and Lucas Dawson back in the side, replacing Liam Davies and Wade Joyce.
Dawson gifted Sutton possession on the edge of his own area on three minutes but Sam Hughes blocked Craig Eastmond's low drive.
It didn't take long for the U's to take the lead as Coombes received the ball from Jeffrey Monakana and hit a terrific effort into the far corner past a motionless Alex Lynch.
It was a very poor start from the Blues, who lacked intensity and any fight from the outset, and it was soon 2-0 to the hosts.
Patient build-up saw Coombes and Monakana exchange passes, before May struck a swerving shot from fully 30 yards which wobbled in the air and flew past Lynch, who seemed to be taken aback by the movement of the ball. It was a disastrous start for under-fire boss McCarthy.
Chester were appalling in the opening 15 minutes and both Monakana and Coombes went close to adding a third but their efforts went over, before Lynch was on hand to pull off a terrific point-blank save to deny Maxime Biamou from eight yards out after Monakana's right wing cross.
Ryan Astles did his upmost to inject some attacking intent into Chester's play as he carried the ball 50 yards on 17 minutes but blasted his shot over from the edge of the box.
Eastmond's curled ball in behind the Chester defence was chased down by Coombes but Lynch was quickly off his line to clear the danger.
Lynch was again called into action on 31 minutes as he got fingertips to Bailey's 25 yard curling effort after good work from Biamou to shake off the attentions of Astles.
Akintunde nearly connected to Durrell's deep cross before Ryan Lloyd's effort from 20 yards out narrowly skimmed over the bar, but at least there were now signs of life from the Blues.
Biamou was allowed time and space to turn in the area and the Blues were fortunate the in-form marksman's shot was high and wide but it was soon 3-0.
Hughes caught Biamou on the edge of the area with a high boot in the chest and U's skipper Collins stepped up to bend a delightful free-kick up and over the wall into the corner past Lynch, who stood no chance.
Akintunde should have converted a header on the stroke of half-time but nodded wide and the Blues traipsed back into the tunnel after a miserable 45 minutes.
Things got worse just 50 seconds after the restart as Coombes bagged his second, heading home from close range after Bailey had delivered a high, hanging cross.
This was turning into a disgraceful display as McCarthy's side went through the motions, unable to stem wave after wave of Sutton pressure, Biamou's header well held by Lynch, who was doing his best to keep it respectful.
Biamou was received a standing ovation from the locals when he was withdrawn on 59 minutes and replacement Jack Jebb nearly scored with his first touch, as Lynch blocked the shot for a corner.
Sutton continued to attack with real menace and May's volley was well blocked by Durrell, who then went up the other end and struck a fine 30 yard shot which Will Puddy expertly tipped over the bar.
Bailey netted the U's fifth goal on 71 minutes, as the ball fell to him from a corner 30 yards out from goal and the defender struck a thunderous volley which rocketed into the bottom corner, their fourth goal from outside the penalty area.
Puddy then made a major error as he completely missed his clearance and allowed Alabi to stroke the ball into an empty net from an acute angle on 79 minutes, and he bagged a second just three minutes later, collecting Tom Shaw's pass, dribbling into the box and slotting his shot past Puddy.
Wade Joyce and Durrell both saw shots blocked as Chester pressed for a third before Lynch again was on hand to turn Kieron Cadogan's shot behind.